Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

February 27, 2009

Pessimism from the Ultimate Realist

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 8:09 am

Whatever you think of Henry Kissinger–warmonger or tragic Metternichian realist–he always has a plan. Today however he presents his “plan” for Afghanistan, and the grim joke is that, search it however long you want, there’s no real “plan’ in there.

The Washington Post must have come to him and said “you ust have a plan for Afghanistan Mr. Secretary” and how could he say “no, it’s hopeless.” But his survey of the landscape makes it clear it’s hopeless. The Taliban have taken over or will be in the process of taking over much of Pakistan and Afghanistan. They’re an even bet to get hold of, on behalf of al Qaeda, Pakistan’s sixty plus nukes. it’s just a matter of time before all helll breaks loose.

I admire Obama and Petraeus’ optimism, but I’ve always felt the flaw in both parties, in Americans in general, was the lack of a tragic sense of life–the dark vision that says, no. there isn’t always a solution to every problem. Some of them will get worse and worse no matter what you do. That’s the way Afghanistan and Pakistan look to me.

And that doesn’t even take into account the extremely dark view of the Iranian satellite launch my friend Craig S. Karpel persuasively advanced here.

Things are going from bad to worse in the midst of a world wide economic collapse. (Don’t try to blame Obama for that).

Anyone out there have some reason for optimism?



  1. The drone weapons decimated major loci of Taliban leadership, effectively driving the Pakistanis and Taliban into each other’s arms, because neither wants unlimited U.S, sorties into gthe Taliban strongholds. Obama’s strategy is to step up the bombing, use U.S. forces in Afghanistan to keep the Taliban in Pakistan, try to neutralize Arab opinion by rebuilding in Gaza and thus get the Arabs to look the other way when Israel attacks Iran. Henry Kissinger has ALWAYS been wrong strategically. Obama knows Pakistan and he knows to keep the pressure on Pakistan. He is going to succeed magnificently . The economy is another matter and Barack knows that only aggressive American warmaking will save it. Hand him a pince-nez and a cheroot: he’s the emperor of the world, the black FDR!!

    Comment by charlie finch — February 27, 2009 @ 11:08 am | Reply

  2. Greetings:

    I recently read “Comanches: The History of a People” by T.R. Fehrenbach (1974, Anchor Books) and was struck by the number of similarities between the difficulties we are currently experiencing with our Muslim brothers and sisters and those the Texicans, and later the Americans, had with the Comanches. The problems in Texas went on for about 50 years, but in the end they were resolved, much to the detriment of the Comanches.

    One of the more interesting parallels was the Comanche idea of war. Their approach was basically what is called “raiding” in military terms. It involved intermittent attacks on somewhat more fixed (than the nomadic Comanches) targets and a low level of tolerance for taking casualties (due to the small population numbers of the Comanche bands). Simply put, what today would be referred to as “shoot and scoot”. The Texican approach developed by the Texas Rangers was to get on their trail and stay on their trail until the Indians were either destroyed or severely attrited.

    As to the “charlie finch” comment above, one of the Texans early successes was in the 1840s when they invited the leaders of the various Comanche band to a “council” meeting in San Antonio. When the Indian leaders settled into the meeting, the Texans killed as many of them as they could, diminishing the Comanches ability to conduct raids due to their lack of their most effective leaders.

    Comment by 11B40 — February 27, 2009 @ 12:02 pm | Reply

  3. Even in the midst of economic gloom, the collapse of the journalism/propaganda industry is a bright spot. And a major foreign policy disaster under Obama could see the Democrats out of power for decades.

    I guess I still have a little optimism.

    Comment by Evil Pundit — February 27, 2009 @ 2:51 pm | Reply

  4. In measuring Obama by the standard of Machiavelli, put aside the urge to see him as the fulfillment of the dream of the Sixties. The Sixties is as remote to Obama the adult as the Forties are to us. Obama came of age under Reagan and it is the lessons of Reagan which guide him: the idea of major economic action by the government as the catalyst of class and social relations; the complex and firm multiple uses of military power all over the world as the means to roll back our adversaries or transform them and the quixotic, theatrical use of diplomatic quirks as an element of surprise. In both men detachment cloaks a desire to dominate, rhetoric is a salve for the public and pleasure derives from taking the road not often taken. We forget how this first year of Obama’s power echoes 1981, when there was massive unemployment, loss of hope and multiple military threats from her adversaries, an incursion into Afghanistan, a desire to tickle the underbelly of Iran through bizarre diplomacy, the drip drip drip of anti-Israeli terrorism. Both men were expert, from the opposite corners of senile old age and vital youth, at playacting, for both believed that play is the thing which manifests the conscience of the king.

    Comment by charlie finch — February 27, 2009 @ 5:08 pm | Reply

  5. On the day Obama was elected, the Dow closed at 9625.

    Today, the Dow closed at 7062.93.

    This is an epic loss of value in the market in such a short time, a nearly 30% decline.
    401Ks, pension funds, retirement accounts, all have been decimated in the three short months since Obama’s election.

    But, it’s got nothing to do with Obama.

    Besides, it would be racist to suggest it.

    Comment by Rob — February 27, 2009 @ 7:13 pm | Reply

  6. Ron: “Things are going from bad to worse in the midst of a world wide economic collapse.”

    Ron you have in the recent past advanced a theory about Iran inevitably using nuclear weapons against Israel.

    Your subsequent posts have tried to justify your gloomy prediction.

    What you don’t take into account is the ability of Israel to defend itself.

    If Iran bombs Israel the Isrealis will retaliate with lethal force.

    Even the Iranian ruling clique while capbable of sending others on suicide missions don’t themselves want to suffer such a fate.

    Comment by Robbins — February 27, 2009 @ 7:18 pm | Reply

  7. “But, it’s got nothing to do with Obama.

    Besides, it would be racist to suggest it.”

    Ron Rosenbaum is a politically correct dude. Instinctively, he believes its racist to criticize Barack Obama. Our new president, it must be conceded, is not responsible for all of our economic woes. George W. Bush, after all, did quite a bit of damage. Our previous White House occupant was similar to Herbert Hoover and Obama is another Franklin D. Roosevelt. We have jumped out of the proverbial frying pan and into the fire.

    Comment by David Thomson — February 28, 2009 @ 8:17 am | Reply

  8. The economic collapse began with Reagan. James Baker borrowed an idea from Lloyd’s of London that debt and its attendant risk could be subdivided into a long line of tranches tha could be marketed as “products”. This philosophy was summed up in Dick Cheney’s famous aphorism that “debt doesn’t matter”. Bill Clinton, by repealing Glass-Steagall and promulgating NAFTA, enabled the debt elites by eliminating regulation and spreading the debt cancer around the world. George W. Bush merely stood by while his cronies continued the mass raping of working people, whose debt profile remained one-dimensional, the one-dimension of the point at he bottom of the reverse period of debt they were dragooned into supporting like Atlas. Now Barack Obama has inverted the debt pyramid and opened the floodgates to a river of devalued dollars, which nevertheless, must be borrowed in same manner of tranches (in U.S. Treasuries) that Jim Baker reinvented. The labor of the world groans under that burden: twenty million newly unemployed Chinese returning to the countryside waiting to be reborn as revolutionaries. Our reckless capitalists will justify Marx the obsessive and Lenin the beast: they will bury themselves under a mountain of greed.

    Comment by charlie finch — February 28, 2009 @ 8:42 am | Reply

  9. So Obama is just making a bad problem worse by his massive increase of government debt — tripling Bush’s deficit in the first month of a disastrous presidency.

    Though we shouldn’t forget Obama’s role in the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, after he and his cronies forced lenders to extend credit to people who couldn’t pay back their loans.

    Comment by Evil Pundit — February 28, 2009 @ 2:09 pm | Reply

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